Postal Service to cut 700 administrative jobs

klunney@govexec.com

The United States Postal Service will be cutting roughly 700 administrative jobs as part of a long-term effort to reduce costs and make up revenue lost to competition, officials confirmed this week.

The popularity of e-mail and competition from other package delivery companies is forcing the Postal Service to revamp its business.

Job cuts will come both at headquarters and in field offices. Many of the jobs in question are vacant, due to a hiring freeze imposed in February, said USPS spokesperson Kristin Krathwohl.

More job cuts may be coming. In March, USPS announced a plan to eliminate 9,000 positions by 2004. Over the next four years, the Postal Service wants to cut costs in purchasing, transportation, and operations as well.

"Administrative efficiencies are just one piece of the puzzle," Krathwohl said.

The purpose of the job cuts is to eliminate unnecessary costs by consolidating work into fewer positions. "This isn't a situation where we are going to eliminate positions and then go out and contract," she said.

Early retirement may be an option for some employees. "We are in discussion with the Office of Personnel Management about that," said Krathwohl. "Any reduction in force will be preceded by an avoidance tactic." She said there are no plans to offer employee buyouts.

On the other side of the equation, USPS wants to increase revenues by raising postage for first class stamps one cent next year. Krathwohl said the issue is currently before the Postal Rate Commission.

"The bottom line is that we have to keep the mail affordable and remain competitive," she said.

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